VietNamNet Bridge – 3G service turns out to be a violent battlefield for telecom groups. The market has become choppy after the three biggest network operators announce the service fee hike.


Vietnamobile, which has never been considered a redoubtable rival in the telecom market, has unexpectedly stated that it will not raise the 3G service fees.

The statement was made just after some days the three other network operators Viettel, MobiFone and VinaPhone, the three biggest networks in Vietnam which hold 97 percent of the market share, announced the 20 percent 3G service fee increase.

Vietnamobile said it has been providing high speed 3G services in three big cities of Hanoi, Da Nang and HCM City since 2011, offering diversified service packages.

With D25 service package, for example, clients can use 500 MB capacity within 30 days with just VND25,000. Meanwhile, if using the similar packages provided by big network operators, clients can have 150 MB at maximum.

As such, Vietnamobile now offers the service packages with the lowest 3G fees, which is just equal to 30 percent of the fees set by other service providers.

D40 package targets the clients who have the demand for high capacity. They have to spend VND40,000 for the 30-day use of 1.5 GB in capacity. Meanwhile, other operators would charge VND120,000 for the package with similar capacity.

Vietnamobile has affirmed that its clients can “have piece of mind” when using its services, because it will not raise the service fee in the context of the “price storm”, when everything is getting more and more expensive.

Prior to that, in December 2011, Vietnamobile stated that it had successfully upgraded the 3G network in Hanoi after the upgrading in HCM City and Da Nang, with the high speed of up to 21.6 Mbps.

With the speed, Vietnamobile is the network operator which offers the highest 3G data transmission speed at this moment.

A representative of the Telecommunication Department under the Ministry of Information and Communication has confirmed that only three network operators have asked for the permission to raise 3G service fees, while Vietnamobile has not made such a similar proposal.

However, he said only the three big network operators have to ask for the ministry’s permission for the service fee adjustments. Meanwhile, Vietnamobile, which does not dominate the market, just needs to inform about its fees.

3G service users have raised their voice asking the Competition Administration Department (CAD) to take probe to clarify if the three service providers colluded with each other to raise fees. A question has been raised that why the 20 percent fee increase has been decided by the three of them and why the decision was released at the same time.

The Ministry of Information and Communication said it approved the permission by the network operators on the same day, which could be the reason why the three telcos decided to raise fees on the same day October 16.

However, the ministry is not sure if the three telcos discussed and agreed to raise fees, which is a violation of the competition law.

Tran Anh Son, Deputy Head of CAD, said if the network operators are found as violating the law, they would be subject to the punishment of up to 10 percent of their turnover.

Thanh Mai